I Quit Drinking for 30 Days—Here's What It Did to My Mind, Body, and Skin

Amanda Montell

Here at Byrdie HQ, we think the idea of a “perfect body” is as outdated as snake-oil diet pills and spandex-clad workout icons. But that doesn’t mean we don’t talk about our bodies—the opposite, in fact. We’re all about body acceptance 24/7/365, but this week, we’re serving up some extra love: Meet Byrdie Body Week. Consider it a love letter to the weird and wonderful vehicles we inhabit, as well as a deep dive into all the body questions that plague us (such as Will my laptop really fry my ovaries?). We’ll also be spotlighting all that’s new in the product world (fake nipples—yeah, we’re going there). Let’s all agree to be a little kinder to our bodies this week (and month and year), no? 

PHOTO:

Alexa Garcia

It was Memorial Day weekend, and I was on what I believe to be my fifth glass of wine. Byrdie's news editor, Victoria, and I had jetted up to Santa Barbara for a day of wine tasting to celebrate the start of summer. We'd spent the day ambling from winery to winery, sampling a smorgasbord of pinots, both noir and gris, and at our last tasting of the day, we were both sporting a festive buzz. But that day, we were not just drinking to the holiday. It was really more of a goodbye party because starting June 1, I would be embarking on a sober 30 days.

I almost couldn't believe it, but for the entire month of June, I was not allowing myself so much as a sip of a friend's rosé. I know that for some people, going 30 days without drinking doesn't sound like a big deal, but I'd never done it before. In fact, when I thought about it, I hadn't gone more than a dry week since high school. At 24, alcohol still played a fairly present role in my life. I certainly didn't get as sloppy drunk as I did in college (my gut-wrenching hangovers wouldn't allow it). But alcohol was still deeply intertwined with my life. As an experiment, I simply wanted to see how I could function without it.

Victoria and I were heading to the winery's outdoor patio to finish up our final glass when we stumbled (quite literally) across a chalkboard sign that read, "No wine past this point." The symbolism seemed almost too perfect. Standing on the front steps, I downed my last sip, and we caught a Lyft home. The following day, I'd wake up a sober woman.

Have you ever tried to go 30 days without drinking? Tell us about your experience in the comments below!

This story was originally published on July 18, 2016.

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